DES women in the spotlight
March 11, 2010
- Spotlight on women
- Women's History Month
FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska -
Cody L. Fein, Assistant Chief of Fire Prevention
Hometown: Riverton, Wyo.
Master Sgt. Theresa Suis, Provost Sergeant
Hometown: Hackettstown, N.J.
Firefighters and police have much in common with our military service members, laying their lives on the line to protect and help others, often strangers; working long, late into the night, sacrificing time with their families; embracing and succeeding in tough training environments and being easily identifiable by the public by virtue of their uniform.
Two women serving in the Directorate of Emergency Services on Fort Wainwright have risen to the upper levels of their respective fields of fire and police services. Cody Fein is the assistant chief of fire prevention. Master Sgt. Theresa Suis is the DES Provost Sergeant.
Both Suis and Fein said they've seen changes in the Army work environment in relation to women.
The Provost Sergeant is the senior enlisted staff advisor to the Provost Marshall and handles all enlisted matters for the Provost Marshall's Office."
"The Army offers great opportunities for women," Suis said, "The Army requires a Soldier to be mentally and physically strong, so be prepared to be tested."
For women, it can be "difficult for us to assimilate in a predominately male work environment." Suis said. "The Army has afforded me many opportunities to reach my full potential as a Soldier and as a leader."
Fein served with the U.S. Air Force for more than 13 years. She began her military service as a firefighter; and for four years, Fein served as a Department of Defense fire instructor before moving to Alaska. Fein was a fire inspector at Fort Greely before moving to the Fort Wainwright fire Fire department Department in 2006.
"It is more common to see women doing jobs that were thought of as male careers only," said Fein, "I have seen in the last 20 years more acceptance and less negativity towards women in the work force. The word equality has set in and most men welcome it. I feel that most men do not look for a woman to fail; they only want her to do what is expected of anyone. As long as she does her very best and is not a liability," Fein said, as any capable man, a woman is a welcome addition to the team.
To have a successful career in the Army, never stop giving 100 percent, Fein said.
"No matter what obstacles come in your path, if you continue to do the best you can, it will be appreciated and noticed. You don't have to be the best, just do the best you can." Fein said.
Suis strives to keep a healthy balance in career and family life.
"Balancing your family commitment and your commitment to the Army is a challenge, but absolutely can be accomplished," Suis said, with support on the work and the home front.
The theme for the 2010 observance of National Women's History Month is "Writing Women Back into History"
An inspiration to women, retired Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Wendy Johnson is worthy of ink in history books, according to Fein.
"She was the first female to go through (the Defense Department's) Fire Academy," Fein said, "she worked at the Fire Academy after retirement to create all student lesson plans for the school. She continued on to get her PhD in adult education."